ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preventing Virus Infections via Pen Drives

Pen-drives - these ubiquitous and innocent-looking devices carried in pocketbooks and gho pockets around the capital, are a major vector of computer virus infections in Bhutan. Here's how these pen-drive viruses are spread:

You insert your new (and clean) pen-drive into your friend's infected computer. The computer malicously copies the virus to your pen drive (also known as a USB drive or USB stick), thus contaminating it. Then you take your pen drive home and insert it into your own computer. The virus - now on the pen-drive - copies itself to your computer. You're doomed!

Even if you make an effort to keep your computer - and pen drives - clean, friends or family might insert their contaminated pen drives into your computer, thus infecting your computer. To avoid these unintentional infections, here's a Windows XP/Vista utility that disables the pen drives on your computer. First, download the utility to your computer by clicking here. Once you run it, select "Disable USB Drives" and then reboot. Pen drives will no longer be accessible. If you are 100% sure that a pen drive is clean, you can re-enable access by running the utility again, selecting "Enable USB Drives", and then re-booting. Don't forget to disable the pen-drives once you are done.

If you have smart friends, they might find the utility on your hard drive and re-enable access to the pen drives. To prevent that, first add a password to your account: In Windows XP, go to Start->Control Panel->User Accounts. Then pick your account (usually Administrator), and choose Create a Password. The next step is to enable the Guest account, which your friends can use: In Windows XP, go to Start->Control Panel->User Accounts. Then pick the Guest account, and enable it. You now have two accounts on your computer: one for yourself, and another for guests. Don't forget to always log out from your Administrator account after you are finished with the computer.

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